In a recent poll here at Oil on Whyte, the Vancouver Canucks were voted to be the greatest, current rival to the Edmonton Oilers by you the readers.
A total of 253 votes were cast and the hated Canucks received 54% or 137 of them. The Calgary Flames came in second with 34% (87 votes), followed by the Winnipeg Jets at a distant third with just 9 votes or 4%. The San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild were additional options, rounding out the voting with minimal response.
The Canucks being deemed the biggest rival to the Oilers might catch some by surprise given the history and attention that the Battle of Alberta has attracted. It’s been said that the Flames and Oilers contests don’t have that same emotion that it did back in the 80′s and 90′s when one game sheet wouldn’t be enough to record all the penalties that were handed out.
Of course both clubs have struggled over the past few years while the Canucks ruled the NorthWest division for multiple, consecutive seasons. With a roster full of players that most hockey fans love to hate (except for Canucks fans themselves), it’s been easy to root against the Canucks, even when they aren’t playing the Oilers.
Watching other teams win is difficult at the best of times but to watch the success of the Canucks over the past half decade has been a bitter pill to swallow. Perhaps it’s the antics of players like Maxim Lapierre or Alexandre Burrows that gets under the skin of not only the Oilers players but the fans as well. Cheap shots and whining and not to mention the diving from the Sedin twins have led to the Canucks becoming a team that other fan bases love to hate.
Looking ahead the Flames and Oilers could restore the hostility that has made the Battle of Alberta one of the greatest rivalries in all of professional sports. With the hiring of Brian Burke it is believed that the Flames will become a bigger, tougher team to play against in the coming years. This year the Flames are expected to occupy the basemen in the West but know this, they will always play the Oilers tough. With Burke having an influence on player acquisition, he will surely help spark the Oilers/Flames rivalry in a way that fans remember.
Agree with the Canucks being the greatest, current rival for the Oilers? Leave your comments below and let’s discuss.